John Adams - Nixon in China (An Opera in Three Acts, 1985-1987)

Posted By: peachfuzz
John Adams - Nixon in China (An Opera in Three Acts, 1985-1987)

John Adams: Nixon in China (1988)
Classical | EAC (APE & CUE) | 420 MB
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There just hasn't been an opera of this intelligence or this sophistication written anywhere in the last half-century. Adams and Goodman make a thrilling and effective equation between what opera and political summits both do in their different ways: make the quotidian seem "larger than life" (to quote Nixon from his opening aria). There's much to say about the technical sophistication of the work: the dense and rewarding allusiveness of Goodman's beautiful libretto, for example, or the wonderful ways in which Adams uses the repetitiveness of the minimalist mode for psychological purposes (such as Nixon's nervousness, Pat's near-hysteria, and Madame Mao's violent dogmatism). This production is quite fine, and enjoys a definitive Nixon in the person of James Maddalena, who makes the character by turns triumphant, clumsy, paranoid, tender, and poignant―just as we remember the real Richard Nixon. There are few more beautifully pillowy baritones than Sanford Sylvan, and he found the part of his career in Chou En-lai, the subtle and valiant Chinese premier: Chou's splendid first-act aria "Ladies and Gentlemen, Comrades and Friends" is the emotional heart of the opera, and Sylvan does it full justice. Carolann Page is a moving and heroic Pat Nixon, and does a superlative job with Pat's big scene in the second act (the most enigmatic but also touching part of the entire opera―in part because it moves towards the margins of the masculine political world elsewhere portrayed).
― Customer Review

Music by John Adams
Libretto by Alice Goodman
First performance at the Houston Grand Opera, October 22, 1987
Original stage production by Peter Sellars with choreography by Mark Morris

Chou En-lai: baritone
Richard Nixon: baritone
Henry Kissinger: bass
Nancy T’ang (first secretary to Mao): mezzo soprano
Second secretary to Mao: alto
Third secretary to Mao: contralto
Mao Tse-tung: tenor
Pat Nixon: lyric soprano
Chiang Ch’ing (Madame Mao Tse-tung): coloratura soprano

Commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Houston Grand Opera and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Recorded by the original cast with the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s conducted by Edo de Waart on Nonesuch 79177.


Disc: 1

1. Act I, Scene I: Beginning - Orch Of St. Luke's/Edo De Waart
2. Act I, Scene I: 'Soldiers Of Heaven Hold The Sky'
3. Act I, Scene I: 'The People Are The Heroes Now'
4. Act I, Scene I: Landing Of The Spirit Of '76
5. Act I, Scene I: 'Your Flight Was Smooth, I Hope?'
6. Act I, Scene I: 'News Has A Kind Of Mystery:'
7. Act I, Scene II: Beginning - Orch Of St. Luke's/Edo De Waart
8. Act I, Scene II: 'You Know We'll Meet With Your Confrere The Democratic Candidate If He Should Win.'
9. Act I, Scene II: 'You've Said That There's A Certain Well-Known Tree'
10. Act I, Scene II: 'Founders Come First, Then Profiteers.'
11. Act I, Scene II: 'We No Longer Need Confucius.'
12. Act I, Scene II: 'Like The Ming Tombs.'
13. Act I, Scene III: Beginning - Orch Of St. Luke's/Edo De Waart
14. Act I, Scene III: 'Ladies And Gentlemen, Comrades And Friends,'
15. Act I, Scene III: 'Mr. Premier, Distinguished Guests,'
16. Act I, Scene III: Cheers

Disc: 2

1. Act II, Scene I: Beginning - Orch Of St. Luke's/Edo De Waart
2. Act II, Scene I: 'Look Down At The Earth,'
3. Act II, Scene I: 'This Is Prophetic!'
4. Act II, Scene I: 'At Last The Weather's Warming Up.'
5. Act II, Scene II: Beginning - Orch Of St. Luke's/Edo De Waart
6. Act II, Scene II: 'Oh What A Day I Thought I'd Die!'
7. Act II, Scene II: 'Whip Her To Death!'
8. Act II, Scene II: Tropical Storm
9. Act II, Scene II: 'Flesh Rebels'
10. Act II, Scene II: 'I Have My Brief'
11. Act II, Scene II: 'It Seems So Strange'
12. Act II, Scene II: 'I Am The Wife Of Mao Tse-Tung'

Disc: 3

1. Act III: Beginning - Orch Of St. Luke's/Edo De Waart
2. Act III: 'Some Men You Cannot Satisfy.'
3. Act III: 'I Am No One.'
4. Act III: The Maos Dance
5. Act III: 'Sitting Around The Radio'
6. Act III: 'Let Us Examine What You Did.'
7. Act III: 'When I Woke Up I Dimly Realized The Jap Bombers Had Given…
8. Act III: 'I Have No Offspring.'
9. Act III: 'I Can Keep Still,'
10. Act III: 'After That The Sweat Had Soaked My Uniform'
11. Act III: 'Peking Watches The Stars,'
12. Act III: 'You Won At Poker.'
13. Act III: 'I Am Old And I Cannot Sleep'

John Adams - Nixon in China (An Opera in Three Acts, 1985-1987)
(3% recovery record included)

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